HC Deb 21 May 1968 vol 765 cc284-5
Q2. Mr. Winnick

asked the Prime Minister which Ministers are responsible for retraining, apprenticeships, and further part-time education after secondary schooling.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

My right hon. Friends the First Secretary of State, the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the Secretary of State for Scotland, Sir.

Mr. Winnick

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one reason for the recent backlash on colour was fear amongst many unskilled and semi-skilled workers that their jobs would disappear with increasing automation and mechanisation, as in the London docks? Is not there a strong case for a full-scale inquiry by the Government into the future position of semi-skilled and unskilled workers?

The Prime Minister

I agree with my hon. Friend about the anxieties here. He will know about the increase in the programme of both Government training centres and industrial training. I am sure it is right to maintain the division between Ministerial responsibilities, with practical training being undertaken in industry being the responsibility of industry and vocational education being connected with the public education service.

Mr. R. Carr

But will the Prime Minister do something more to increase the retraining programme, both for the reasons mentioned by his hon. Friend and for general industrial reasons? Is he aware that the present programme is totally inadequate?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman will know that we have been pushing on with this very fast. Against 17 training centres when we took office, there are now 38, and present plans provide for 55. Those are Government training centres. The right hon. Gentleman, who had some responsibility, will also know how much has been done by successive Governments to get the industrial training programme into full swing.